Tuesday, April 15, 2014

randomtengureporter asked: Oh wise and educated necromancers, I come to you for advice! I long to shed this inconvenient mortal coil, and become a lich, but as a divine caster, I keep running into necessary arcane spells that I can't cast! Do you know of any wizard services that are willing to do surrogate spell casting, or perhaps an alternate path to lichdom? Thanks, and may the dark ones bless you!

In situations like this, you could definitely do worse than hiring a down on his luck necromancer. We’ve talked about this before, but only from the point of view of the freelance necromancer. For one reason or another, there are necromancers out there who haven’t had the same opportunities as you and me. Left without a black tower or arcane library, these necromancers have learned their craft on the streets.

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Your average street necromancer will be a little rough around the edges. His incantations could sound a little strange, but they always get the job done. His glyphs and sigils might look a touch sloppy, maybe he doesn’t read so well, but he has a broad working knowledge of the dark arts and frankly… he’s not expensive.

It shouldn’t be too hard to come to an arrangement with one of these freelance necromancers. They’ll ferry your immortal soul to a phylactery and ensure that your body is in decent condition for your lengthy old age.

So don’t fear the street necromancer’s strange trappings and cobbled-together arcana, nor the fact that he wears his phylactery on a heavy chain around his neck. On the street, you don’t have the luxury of a well maintained dungeon to keep your treasures in. You make do.

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Monday, April 7, 2014

fusefusefuse asked: When it comes to the fine art of Necromancy, how do You personally approach the age old Quality vs Quantity debacle? Which one do You prefer? Is it worth carefully crafting a couple of ungodly minions, or is it better to go for sheer numbers, yet second-rate creations?

We’re often asked about the quality versus quantity question, and in the past this was something that many necromancers took very seriously; the number of horrors you could maintain was a sure sign of necromantic prowess. Modern necromancers tend to be a little more enlightened. You’d be hard pressed to find a death priest these days who still believes that the number of minions under your control is all important.

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Indeed, it’s largely a question of training and culture. Your average Haitian necromancer, for example, will only ever maintain one zombie at a time. Moreover, that zombie will often only qualify as “undead” by the loosest of definitions. Still, their control is absolute, and this zombie servant allows them to spend more of their energies liaising with the spirit world.

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By contrast, your more traditional Old World necromancer spends much of their time cultivating a diverse horde of different minions. The other kind of necromancer for whom the quantity of zombies summoned tends to matter most is the seldom-seen scientist/plague necromancer, for whom virulence tends to be a primary concern.

While many necromancers dream of turning every man, woman, and child into a zombie, who would there be left to subjugate? Who would breed to produce more dead for you to dominate?

There are arguments for and against each side, but the truth is that neither is a “superior” form of necromancy. Indeed, all that’s important is that you be a finer necromancer than your direct competition. Match him horde for horde if necessary. Overpower him. Feast on his dark energies.

P.S. To avoid overrunning, we’ll address the question of golems another day. Thanks to fusefusefuse and ghostrightsactivist for the questions.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Anonymous asked: I have a problem. I've been living in this lovely desecrated church for centuries now (they're great for basement hall portals) but recently have had a problem with teenagers, goth teenagers. They love the place! I don't know how they keep slipping past my minions and demons but when they do I threaten them with eternal servitude as an undead abomination which only excites them! What should I do?!

If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be, “Follow your dreams.”

However, if I could give you a second piece of advice, it would be, “Follow through with your threats.”

What’s more, you have the opportunity to pull off one of the highest ambitions of any dark wizard. There is no better revenge than a wish granted that later turns out to be a curse. While this isn’t a tenet of necromancy in particular, it’s something that all dark mages should aspire to at least once.

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Fig. 1: Spot the ghoul. Answers in the footnote below.1

So, in this specific case? Turn those goths into ghouls! Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep good ghouls these days? They’re always complaining about their persistent decay or falling apart… it’s terrible.With goths, you can open by telling them that you’ll grant them everlasting life, there’s no need to mention that you won’t be providing everlasting youth, vitality, or even cohesion.

There’s also another plus. For reasons not fully understood, the transition from goth to ghoul takes significantly less necromantic power than for normal human beings.

All of that said, you need to be aware that these might already be ghouls, rather than goths. After all, they’ve managed to make it past your undead guards… It’s an easy mistake to make. When in doubt, check the musculature; goths tend to be far closer to zombies than ghouls.

Ghouls are pale, goths are frail.



1. Of course, the correct answer was B. It is important to remember that ghouls tend to travel in packs, while goths have no friends. Clearly, these are ghouls while the other images show two depictions of regular goths.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Anonymous asked: Hi, I'm a longtime lich who has finally mustered up my will to unundie. Yet I seem to have lost my phylactery decades ago. My local hag's divinations seem to point to it being in an underground vault as part of some reclusive millionaire's art collection, what would be the best action to shuffle on my mortal coil?

The best way to go about this used to be to use a glamour to disguise yourself as a pillar of the community and pay a band of adventurers to attack a “necromancer” and destroy his phylactery. You’d send them to the art dealer’s house, they’d kill him, and go on to dig out your phylactery and destroy that too.

Of course, now we live in an age when bands of adventurers and paladins are tougher to come across (and more expensive to employ). A cheaper option is to simply host a Survivor-styled competition and, over the course of a number of gruelling weeks, shape them into a hardened team of adventurers.

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Fig 1. The above is an image of the average team of Survivor hopefuls. Note that one of them may already be a practicing warlock. Be sure to capitalise on this.

You’ll want to whittle your contestants down into perfect team. The generally accepted best-fit for an adventuring party usually contains a minimum of:

  • 1 x Rogue
  • 1 x Paladin/Warrior/Barbarian/Dwarf
  • 1 x Spellcaster1

While you might expect them to be resistant to this, the popularity of reality TV means that you’ll usually find a few people who’ll do anything if you tell them there’s a cash prize and a chance they’ll get famous. This also means you can sell the TV rights and at least profit on the whole enterprise.

Once you’ve primed your team of competitors-turned-adventurers, you dispatch them in the usual fashion and hope that they’re successful. If they should happen to die, you can always resurrect them and give it another bash. After a few seasons, you’ll either succeed with the adventurers or accrue a large enough horde to overrun the place.

1. Finding a spellcaster will be difficult. You’re going to need to attract someone of magical aptitude to join your crew. Once they’re in place, you can quietly take them under your wing and teach them some of your non-necromantic magics. Believe me, it’s a lot easier than just hoping a competent wielder of the forbidden arts happens to enlist on their own. Anyway, you only need them to last one adventure.

 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Anonymous asked: Dear Necromancers, I am a dapper gentleman with an unusual hobby. I try my best to stay active in the community and meet people. However, due to my hobby, I find it difficult to meet women. Bringing them home is especially an issue. They always comment about the unpleasant smell of formaldehyde coming from the basement! Do you have any advice to give on the fairer sex?

First things first, you’ve got to be open to the idea that the women you’re meeting aren’t turned off by the fact that you’re a necromancer… they may just be embarrassed by your hack-job approach to your hobbyist necromancy. What if you were to meet a lovely young woman who told you she was interested in necromancy, but then you went back to her place and found that she only uses people who’ve been dead a few seconds and some shock paddles?

The truth is, you were probably just a terrible disappointment to the poor girl.

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If you want to be taken seriously as a necromancer, step back from the formaldehyde and start spending more time working on some of the incantations against decay.

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Necromancy isn’t just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.1 You can’t just introduce yourself by saying,

“Oh, y’know, I’m a pretty normal dude, I just sometimes dabble in dread sorcery…”

That’s for warlocks. You’re not some practitioner of minor cantrips, you part the veil between life and death.

Be up front. Own it.

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1. Or, if you’re a liche, unlifestyle. If you are a necromantic hierophant, deathstyle.

 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Anonymous asked: Do you know of any celebrity necromancers out there? Who are the stars of stage and screen who quietly raise the dead when nobody's looking?

I have no doubt that there are many celebrities who harbour quiet necromantic tendencies. Unfortunately, due to the nature of their work (and indeed their dark work), they must be successful in keeping it all a secret.

The only necromancer I know to openly practice the black arts is pop starlet Kesha (née Ke$ha). I was caught off guard by this, until I read of her supernatural encounters. During an interview, she revealed,

 I don’t know his name! He was a ghost! I’m very open to it

[…]

I lived in this flop house at Rural Canyon and there was this weird energy that lived there, and it used to keep me at night and wake me up. And it progressed into this dark, sexual spirit.

It did scare me but that’s part of the fun of it.

Naturally, the media was quick to seize upon this innocuous tidbit, with TheFrisky posting:

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While TheFrisky is unsure of Kesha’s ability to work the delicate magics that twist the web of fate to bond the living soul with necrotic flesh, we harbour no such doubts. Kesha is clearly a powerful sorceress, one whose expertise is in drawing back souls that have already migrated beyond our plane.

Anyway, even if you didn’t believe all that, the clue is in her song lyrics.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

sexbathorrorvampiresex asked: Dear Necromanswers, I could really use your help. As a witch and necromancer I just haven't been able to raise many undead hordes lately and kind of worry I may be losing my touch. It's always the same; I go to the graveyards during the blackest hour of night and call upon the forces of darkness to aid me in my workings but where usually this would yield an army of zombies ready to do my bidding the most I seem to be getting is a bit of groaning. What am I doing wrong?

I’m pleased to report that I should be able to solve all of your problems with one simple piece of advice. You see, the problem all comes down to where you’re doing your reanimation. While they seem a natural place to raise the dead, a graveyard poses a number of problems for the necromancer:

  1. They’re on consecrated ground, while this doesn’t stop powerful sorceries altogether, it will dampen your magical ability
  2. The dead have been there a while. As we all know, raising zombies/wights/ghouls/skeletons/wraiths/skellingtons/spectres requires different incantations. It’s easier when the corpses are all of a relatively uniform age.
  3. The damp takes its toll, meaning that any dead you do raise will have stiff joints and be resistant to too much movement.
  4. Strength is ever an issue for the zombie. Infused with supernatural life, they are not particularly strong. As a result, many are stuck in the coffins in which they were buried.

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While there is a certain charm to doing our work in graveyards, the modern necromancer is more at home in the morgue than in the cemetery. All of the bodies in a morgue are in roughly the same state. Admittedly, this means that they’ll be best-suited to becoming zombies, but at least they’re a known quantity.

Moreover, gravediggers are notoriously wise to the advances of a trepidatious sorcerer. However, most morgue-keepers will reserve you a good anonymous corpse from time to time, if your money’s good.

Let’s not forget, you’re getting on in years now. You could do with a little more time spent in away from the bad weather. We can’t have liches out in the cold all night, conjuring and what have you. Nah, get a coffee, wait for them to die of natural causes, and then step in at your leisure.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Anonymous asked: Have you heard about the hottest new Necromancy fad? NecroNominate? You raise a notable personality, then video-selfie yourself challenging a rival Necromancer to one up you with a more high profile corpse. What do you make of it? Have you challenged or been challenged yet?

Unfortunately, I tend to miss most fads. Being such a serious necromancer, I spend most of my time cloistered in my crypt laboratory. This piqued my interest though, so much so that I decided to investigate by rummaging through the grimoires of my black library. Sadly, there was nothing to be found there, so I was forced to turn to the internet.

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Fortunately, Ghoulgle suggested some results for me, so I wasn’t forced to trawl through them to find the most impressive suggestion. Along with many other necromancers, I’ve always suspected Elvis to be alive, so the challenge to raise him from the dead was an impressive one. Nothing could have prepared me for the response.

You see, only one necromancer had actually responded to the challenge. Far be it for me to accuse someone of lying, but I honestly hadn’t expected anyone to have any real proof that they had resurrected the king.

I was mightily impressed when he stated that the reason he hadn’t raised the king was because he was, in fact, the king. That’s right, the king is, to my surprise, not just dead, but undead.

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The king is (un)dead.

Long live the king.

Friday, February 14, 2014

necromanswers:

I couldn’t find any necromancer/liche specific Valentine’s day cards, so I went ahead and made some of my own.

Time flies when you’re an ageless monstrosity hellbent on the destruction of mankind. For most necromancers, that won’t mean too much, but if you’re a liche in love then it can sneak up on you. 

Fortunately, we still have the cards we made last year. Necromanswers has your back.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Anonymous asked: Ive always wanted to be a necormancer, but I don't know any magic. How would you about learning to raise the dead if you didn't already have a command over dark forces? What is the best way to learn to become a necromancer from scratch?

You should never let an abject lack of talent slow you down. After all, some of the biggest names in necromancy were turned away from Necropolis’ universities of the arcane.

While I attended college there was a young man there whose magical aptitude was, frankly, laughable. He would attend all the classes he could, but then spend all of his time drawing diagrams instead of runes and glyphs. He’d labour in mortuaries for hours without even the vaguest twitch of a nearby corpse.

To his credit, he did manage to leave in style. When they threw him out, he said that he’d be the best damned necromancer the world had ever seen. We laughed, of course we laughed, he had been the worst student to have ever attended, but he worked hard and in the end he made something of himself without the usual sorceries and black magics our trade has come to rely on.

That student’s name?

Victor Frankenstein.

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Fig. 1: Above left, Victor Frankenstein, above right, Frankenstein’s monster.